NEPAD must take account of culture of the people

Daily Graphic, 24th October 2005 Story: Chris Nunoo, Kumasi

The Chief Director of the National Commission on Culture, Mr. Kofi Asuman, has stated that for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to succeed, its principles must take into account the culture and tradition of the people.

He said the culture of the people brought to the fore their sense of ownership and that the beneficiary countries must ensure that the cultural values of the people became the basis for such development programmes.

Mr. Asuman, who was addressing a two-day workshop in Kumasi on Thursday on the implications of NEPAD and culture, advised the beneficiary countries to pay maximum attention to the cultural dimensions and perspectives of their people for them to understand and appreciate the programme.

Selected chiefs and queen!s from the Eastern, Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo Regions, representatives of NGOs and other interested organisations took part in the seminar, which was dubbed the second mid-zonal workshop on culture and NEPAD. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation sponsored the seminar. Mr. Asuman said even though the continent could boast superior cultural practices, compared with others, all those practices had been relegated to the background.

He pointed out that most seminars and international conventions had failed to make the required impacts in the various countries because their governments ignored the cultural approach in communicating such information to the people.

The Omanhene of Maabang in the Ahafo Ano North District of the Ashanti Region, Nana Darko Montwi V, who chaired the function, called for a bi-partisan approach to the discussion on issues, which bordered on the implementation of programmes and determined the direction of the country’s development.

This, he said, was to prevent a situation where successive governments tended to abandon development programmes, which had a direct impact on the lives of the people.

Other participants also urged the parties working on the NEPAD document to take into consideration the cultural aspects of the people if the document was to succeed.

They contended that the document would fail to achieve its intended results if the stakeholders failed to redefine the education, health and language systems of the country and incorporated new findings into it.

To them, education played a key role in the way of thinking of people and since most of the lecturers and professors of the country’s universities went through the Western system of education, most of them had abandoned the issue of culture in their daily activities.

That, according to the participants, would greatly affect the processes aimed at enhancing the development and implementation of the document, since it would still be under Western cultural influence.

The participants called for the redefinition of the issues in the context that would suit the people.

They also said education on the issues raised in the NEPAD document could better go down with the people if it gave greater recognition to the people who stood to benefit from it.